Forming a Healthy Intimacy with God


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In order to have healthy intimate relationships with others, it helps to have a healthy intimate relationship with God. With God, there is absence of judgment and unconditional acceptance, unlike with a human partner. Through reference to biblical concepts and teachings from the Catholic Catechism, this presentation explains how to form a healthy intimacy with God.

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Forming a Healthy Intimacy with God

  1. 1. <ul><li>Intimacy Workshop Series: Part 3 </li></ul>
  2. 2. <ul><li>Former St. Brigid staff pastoral counselor from 2004-2006. </li></ul><ul><li>Graduate USD with MA in Pastoral Care & Counseling (2005). </li></ul><ul><li>Graduate Alliant Int’l University with MA in Marriage & Family Therapy (2007). </li></ul><ul><li>Currently working as a mental health counselor for a local AOD program. </li></ul>
  3. 4. <ul><li>“Intimacy is </li></ul><ul><ul><li>The recursive experience… </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>… of open self-confrontation (vulnerability) … </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>…of core aspects of the self … </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>…in the presence of a partner.” </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>--David Schnarch </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Author of Passionate Marriage </li></ul></ul>
  4. 5. <ul><li>Each person does everything within their power to become their most authentic self . </li></ul><ul><li>The authentic self is the very person that God created us to be. </li></ul><ul><li>The authentic self is directly connected to our essential purpose in life . What we do should radiate our authenticity. </li></ul>
  5. 6. <ul><li>[Jesus] called a child over, placed it in their midst, and said, “Amen, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children , you will not enter the kingdom of heaven. </li></ul><ul><li>Whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.” </li></ul><ul><li>Mt 18:1-3 </li></ul>
  6. 7. <ul><li>You must be able to be vulnerable with God before you can be vulnerable with somebody else. Otherwise, there is no authenticity. </li></ul>
  7. 8. <ul><li>If you cannot be vulnerable before God who loves you perfectly and unconditionally… </li></ul>
  8. 9. <ul><li>… what makes you think you can be vulnerable with a partner, who will love you conditionally and imperfectly? </li></ul>
  9. 10. <ul><li>Relevant Point: </li></ul><ul><li>Intimacy starts from within. </li></ul>
  10. 11. <ul><li>Vulnerability is the key ingredient for intimacy. </li></ul><ul><li>Vulnerability is best defined as “ the state of being exposed .” </li></ul><ul><li>With communication and companionship, vulnerability enables a relationship to exist. </li></ul>
  11. 12. Companionship Communication Vulnerability
  12. 14. <ul><li>“ Enchanted” </li></ul>
  13. 15. Small Group Discussion
  14. 16. <ul><li>Oh God! </li></ul>
  15. 17. <ul><li>Oh God! Book II </li></ul>
  16. 19. <ul><li>God visits Jerry and Tracy in the form of an old man (George Burns). In what form would God likely appear to you ? </li></ul>
  17. 20. <ul><li>Would it be appropriate to have an image of God that is the person we hope to marry? </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Unconditional Love </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Unconditional Acceptance </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Absence of Judgment </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Safe and secure relationship </li></ul></ul>
  18. 21. Forming a closer relationship with God according to a total non-saint (me)
  19. 22. <ul><li>“ When you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you.” Mt 6:6 </li></ul>
  20. 23. <ul><li>“When you fast, anoint your head and wash your face, that your fasting may not be seen by others but by your Father who is in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you.” </li></ul><ul><li>Mt 6:17-18 </li></ul>
  21. 24. <ul><li>“When you give alms, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your alms may be in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you.” </li></ul><ul><li>Mt 6:3-4 </li></ul>
  22. 25. Prayer Fasting Alms-Giving
  23. 26. <ul><li>Prayer is the conscious effort to connect our soul with God through the Spirit. </li></ul>
  24. 27. <ul><li>“By words, mental or vocal, our prayer takes flesh. Yet it is most important that the heart should be present to Him to whom we are speaking in prayer: ‘Whether or not our prayer is heard depends not on the number of words, but on the fervor of our souls.’” </li></ul><ul><li>CCC 2700 </li></ul>
  25. 28. <ul><li>“What is contemplative prayer? St. Teresa [of Avila] answers: ‘Contemplative prayer in my opinion is nothing else than a close sharing between friends; it means taking time frequently to be alone with Him who we know loves us.’” </li></ul><ul><li>CCC 2709 </li></ul>
  26. 29. <ul><li>Primary Relationships </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Significant Other </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Close family members (e.g. children) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>“Closest and Best” Friends </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>God </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Secondary Relationships </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Everyone else </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Other friends, boss, extended family, family friends, friends of significant other, the person you met at the bus stop, etc. </li></ul></ul></ul>
  27. 30. <ul><li>It has a high priority in your life. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>The relationship is “primary” for both of you. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Unconditional acceptance. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Concerted effort to spend time together. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>No fear of judgment. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>The relationship is an end , not a means </li></ul></ul>
  28. 31. <ul><li>Note that Jesus calls us to do our prayer in secret. It’s a private, intimate relationship with God. </li></ul>
  29. 32. <ul><li>Fasting is the sacrifice of personal comforts. </li></ul><ul><li>By foregoing our comforts, we endure a humble and vulnerable existence without what we think we need. </li></ul>
  30. 33. <ul><li>It helps us acquire mastery over our instincts and freedom of heart. </li></ul><ul><li>The conscious sacrifice of the needs of the self makes one vulnerable before God. </li></ul>
  31. 34. <ul><li>The practice of penance, mortification, and self-denial to promote greater self-mastery and to foster the way of perfection by embracing the way of the cross. </li></ul>
  32. 35. <ul><li>“ Jesus' call to conversion and penance, like that of the prophets before him, does not aim first at outward works, but at the conversion of the heart, interior conversion.” </li></ul><ul><li>CCC 1430 </li></ul>
  33. 36. <ul><li>“ Without this, such penances as fasting and mortification remain sterile and false; however, interior conversion urges expression in visible signs, gestures and works of penance.” </li></ul><ul><li>CCC 1430 </li></ul>
  34. 37. <ul><li>“ History Channel: Opus Dei Unveiled” </li></ul>
  35. 38. <ul><li>Does “mortification of the flesh” have to include flogging the body, wearing uncomfortable clothing, or eating/drinking bad tasting food? </li></ul>
  36. 39. <ul><li>Money or goods given to the poor as an act of penance or fraternal charity. </li></ul><ul><li>Almsgiving is giving up our comforts so that others may be more comfortable, sometimes to our own discomfort . </li></ul>
  37. 40. Application to Your Relationship with God
  38. 41. <ul><li>What do you talk about with God? </li></ul><ul><ul><li>“ Thank God!” or “God help me!” </li></ul></ul><ul><li>God knows all the facts about you. What facts do you know about God? </li></ul><ul><li>What do you really know about YOU? </li></ul>
  39. 42. <ul><li>Advantages </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Initiates a forward step toward authenticity (self-expression). </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Opens an opportunity for genuine agreement, not just conformity. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Enables the possibility for acceptance even if the other is not entirely right. </li></ul></ul>
  40. 43. <ul><li>Unconditional acceptance </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Believing that we are accepted/acceptable </li></ul></ul><ul><li>After the Fall of Man, the effects of Original Sin cause a resistance to be vulnerable before God. </li></ul>
  41. 44. <ul><li>My plan vs. God’s plan </li></ul><ul><ul><li>God knows what you need and provides your needs on the basis of His plan. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>God gives you gifts and talents that enable you to fulfill God’s plan. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Your authentic self is the person that is able to find happiness making full and complete use of God’s gifts. </li></ul></ul>
  42. 45. <ul><li>My plan vs. God’s plan </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Are my hopes and dreams in line with God’s plan? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>How can I tell when I am in line with God’s plan for me? </li></ul></ul>
  43. 46. <ul><li>Emotional reactions to the world around us. </li></ul><ul><li>The big question: </li></ul>
  44. 47. <ul><li>What do you talk about with God? </li></ul><ul><ul><li>If you can’t talk about your feelings with God, with whom can you talk about them? </li></ul></ul><ul><li>It’s okay to be angry and frustrated with God. </li></ul><ul><li>Grieve your losses, celebrate your joys! </li></ul><ul><li>What about the emotions of fear and shame? </li></ul>
  45. 48. <ul><li>This level is about accepting our selves in God’s presence. </li></ul><ul><li>What is confession really about for you? </li></ul><ul><li>Can you own with God your authentic human weakness? </li></ul>
  46. 49. <ul><li>Two extremes </li></ul><ul><ul><li>“ I suck, and I need to beat myself into submission before God to be accepted.” </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>“ I thank God I have it all under control.” </li></ul></ul>
  47. 50. <ul><ul><li>“ We are not worthy of God’s love, but God loves us anyway.” </li></ul></ul>We are always worthy of God’s love. In spite of our human weaknesses, God loves us anyway.
  48. 51. <ul><li>What are your needs from God? </li></ul><ul><li>What are God’s needs from you (essential purpose)? </li></ul><ul><li>God wants you to love Him. </li></ul><ul><li>At this level, we work with God to be our authentic selves. </li></ul>
  49. 52. <ul><li>Ask yourself: Is this a need or is this a want? How does this need enable me to be my authentic self? </li></ul><ul><li>“ Go and get what you want out of life!” </li></ul><ul><li>Relationships are not about getting what you want. Relationships are about helping each other become your authentic self. </li></ul>
  50. 53. <ul><li>How do my needs fit into God’s plan? </li></ul><ul><li>How do the things I want fit into God’s plan? </li></ul>
  51. 55. <ul><li>Thank you for coming! God bless you all! </li></ul>